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A Pioneer Servant To Humboldt


Lois Diamond

The large train stopped. There were no more tracks. A manand his wife and two children stepped off the train. It was November, 1879.James Diamond and his family arrived in Humboldt.

To James Diamond, he had arrived in the land of opportunity.He had traveled as far as the tracks would go so he was certain a new andbetter life awaited him. Many of his relatives were already farming nearHumboldt and he had come to join them.

He had been a carriage maker in Prince Edward Island. Ajob he attained only after years of apprenticeship. Life on the island hadbeen good but James Diamond seeked for a new life and challenge.

He bought the homestead rights of another man for $300.James now had land but it was a long time until spring. To earn money hetraveled over to Pembina and cut wood.

Gradually, James Diamond became more experienced in farmingand finally became quite prosperous. In the meantime, his family was alsoincreasing.

James Diamond was the father of twelve children, six boysand six girls. Two of their children died during their childhood years,Ernest and Benny. All six girls married and the four boys, Laurence, Leonard,Levi and Herbert remained in Humboldt.

Herbert Diamond was born on June 11, 1890. He had an averagechildhood for a boy of the times. He worked hard and was lucky enough toattend school. School was in session from November to March. Herb attendedschool until he reached the eighth grade.

Baseball was a favorite sport in Humboldt. One team hadonly Diamonds and their cousins as players. Laurence played first base,Benny was catcher, and Herb played a number of positions. The coach andmanager of the team was Carl Farley. Carl Farley is now famous because heestablished the Carl Farley Home for Boys in Amarillo, Texas. The team traveledto neighboring towns for games. They usually hopped on the freight train.The caboose and coal chute offered the choice seats.

In 1911, when Herb was twenty years old, he traveled toDes Moines, Iowa to attend school. He learned how to operate steam enginesand became a licensed engineer. He would now be able to legally operateany machine with a steam engine.

He returned to Humboldt and met Annie Turner. Annie hadcome to Humboldt from Prince Edward Island to visit her sister. Her sisterwas married to Leonard Diamond, Herb's brother. Herb and Annie were marriedon January 6, 1914.

They lived on a farm outside of Humboldt for six years.In 1929, the Diamonds moved to town. Herb then started a garage. He employedtwo mechanics and another man to serve as station attendant. The Diamondgarage also sold John Deere equipment. The speciality of the garage wasoverhauling Model T's.

While running a garage, Mr. Diamond also raised turkeysand drove a school bus. It wasn't really a bus. Every winter morning theDiamonds would hitch the horses to the sleigh for the two and a half mileroute.

Herb also kept farming. In the 1920's farming was quitean extensive operation. The harvest season lasted from September to November.It was naturally quite a busy time. The thrashing machine had a steam engineand water and straw were required to keep it running. The machine was drivenon a wagon by a team of horses.

The Diamond's crew needed eight men to drive the wagons.Along with the drivers, there were three fuel pitchers, two spike pitchers,and a straw bucker, who kept the machine filled with straw. A fireman, separatorand a licensed engineer were also necessary. And the most important manon the crew was the head man, the boss.

After the crew worked long and hard, they had to be fed.Many farms employed two cook wagons to feed the thrashers. Large bunk houseswere also necessary to house the workers.

In 1935, Herb Diamond turned all his efforts into farmingand no longer ran a garage.

In the 1930's, large thrashing crews were still used butthe gas engine made harvest much simpler. Herb also had two sons to helphim, besides two daughters.

Herb Diamond contributed many services to Humboldt. In1921, he was elected town clerk. He served this post faithfully and expertlyfor 45 years.

Every year an annual picnic was held in Humboldt. The picnicsincluded races, ball games, tug of war, riding a greased pig and a lot offood. Herb Diamond was the chairman of these picnics.

Herb remained active in farming for many years. He wasa leading farmer of the county. He never really retired but when he wassixty-eight he rented his land out.

Herbert Lomas Diamond contributed greatly to the developmentof farming in the Red River Valley and the building of Humboldt.

Although he is no longer with us, he left four children,eleven grandchildren, and five great grandchildren to carry on the Diamondname.

The Diamonds have come a long way since 1879. They alsohave a long way to go because their pioneer grandfather, Herbert Diamond,left them a great heritage.


Diamond, Herb Mrs. Interview, February 11, 1969

Diamond, Harvey. Interview, February 9, 1969

Johnson, Amy. Interview, February 4, 1969

rvey. Interview, February 9, 1969

Johnson, Amy. Interview, February 4, 1969